Monday, February 27, 2012

Wind River Clean-up

Last weekend was the 3rd annual clean-up on the Wind River near Carson, WA. This area is absolutly beautiful and one of my favorite places to paddle in the Pacific Northwest. Unfortunately, the take-out of the upper section tends to collect a lot of trash throughout the year so Drew Eastman organizes an annual spring cleaning event to spruce the place up.

Kayakers and catarafters rendezvoused mid-morning and within an hour the takeout was sparkling clean. Then we hit the river to extract old fishing line, tires and other random stuff from the river banks. Despite heavy rain and a little snow, the mission was a success and volunteers warmed up with a post-paddle BBQ.

*Huge thanks to Mike Babcock for hauling away the mountain of trash bags at the end of the day!

Thursday, February 2, 2012

Viva Mexico!

Back in October when I was planning my winter, I figured I would be good and tired of cold, grey and rain by the time January rolled around. Why not head to Mexico? After a quick phone call to my old buddy Jim Busse, tickets were booked and plans were being made.

The only problem with traveling with Jim is that we are rarely satisfied to stay in one place, finding the need to explore as much as we can. So while we intended to stay in Tlapacoyan, boat all the surrounding rivers and stay for the Alseseca Race, we ended up soaking in quite a bit of culture.
El Tajin
First things first, we hopped on the Roadside run of the Alseseca River our first day in Tlapacoyan. This action packed 2 mile section offers easy access, slides and waterfalls in quick succession, and some seriously sticky holes. :)
Brett Easton rocking "Sticky Hole"
"Triple Drop"
Dave Carey in "S Turn"
Dave Carey "S Turn"
"Sofie's Hole"
Feeling the big hits from the Alseseca and tired from travel, the next day we chose to tag along with a raft trip from Aventurec on the Filo Bobos to chill and enjoy some scenery.
Jim enjoying the Filo-Bobos
El Tajin was next on the list, the site of one of the largest and most important cities of the classic era of Mesoamerica, between 600 and 1200 AD. A two hour bus ride from Tlapacoyan near the city of Papantla, we were joined by Dave Carey on this mission. We were welcomed to the ruins with the traditional Danza de los Voladores, a ceremony consisting of dancers that climb a 30 foot pole only for four of five of them to swing from ropes while they descend to the ground. The fifth sits on top playing a drum and flute. This was traditionally done to ask for the end of a drought.
Danza de los Voladores
El Tajin
We were back on the water the next day, checking out another section of the Rio Bobos. This section consists of boulder gardens scattered in a deep limestone canyon. Unfortunately my camera wasn't working well this day so I wasn't able to capture much of the beauty.
Traffic jam on the way to Rio Bobos
The donkey trail to the Rio Bobos

Yep, we just walked down that
One of the last canyons on the Rio Bobos
With mole, markets, and Monte Alban calling our names, we were off the next morning to Oaxaca. The Oaxaca markets are known as the best in the country with blocks of everything you can think of. It was easy to spend an entire day exploring, shopping, and sampling yummy food (although neither of us could muster up the courage to try chapulinas - roasted grasshoppers with chile).
So many cool churches!
Another cool church
Awesome Oaxaca markets!
Monte Alban was the ancient capital of the Zapotecs, built around 500 BC
Idaho that can tell time?

Lesson learned on this trip: next time I visit Mexico I need more time, more bug spray, and more time.

A lot of good info on the kayaking can be found in The River Gypsies Guide to North America.

Also, Nate and Heather Herbeck put together a nice video of the Alseseca Race. Check it out!